Monday, August 27, 2012

Around the Tailgate: tailback, post-Crow

Once again the tailgaters are ready to chime in. If you remember, I give these guys a question and they give you their honest thoughts and feelings. A lot has changed since we last spoke to them. Today's question dives right into the biggest change, the tailback position. And comes on the cusp of freshman Todd Gurley over-taking fellow freshman Keith Marshall in the poll over there. Let's see what these guys think.

So...Crowell removed himself from the roster since we last talked. However the young kids are clearly making strides during preseason practices. On paper at least it looks like an improvement over last season. What are your thoughts on the running back position?  

Gurley at practice. (via)

Joe Waterloo - "The young kids are clearly making strides????" I'd apologize for my cynicism, but most of you know me too well to think I was being sincere.  The next time I hear anything said in preseason camp that isn't something along those lines will be the first time I've ever heard it.  And I'm not just picking on UGA.  All you hear from every school and NFL team is about how much improvement player X and Y are making.  And it typically comes from the QB (who's trying to be a good leader), the position coach (who's trying to make it look like he's doing something constructive) or the players he's going against (who's trying to pump the guy up after beating him like a drum in practice.)  Marshall and/or Gurley will hopefully end up being studs, but I take no comfort in the fact that they haven't seperated themselves from Samuel and Malcome.  Let's not kid ourselves in to thinking either Samuel or Malcome would get so much as a sniff at any SEC school other than Vandy, Kentucky, or Ole Miss. My hope is Richt is being coy and/or trying to keep everyone motivated by keeping the competition going, but if we go more than 3 games into the season with a 4 runnning back rotation I'm going to say the position is a serious concern.  It's not fair to expect a freshamn to come into the SEC and take over that position, but that's exactly what the Dawgs need.  And it sure in the hell better be before we go to South Carolina.


The Wrangler -  I think that regardless of who the “starter” is against Buffalo, Malcome, Gurley, Marshall, and Samuel will get plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents.  There is no question about the quality depth at the position, and unlike last year, these players have good attitudes and work ethic.  We are about to see some running backs that appreciate the “G” and understand the passion that is Georgia Football.  Crowell was a real talent, but as we have seen time and time again, it takes more than talent to succeed in the SEC.  I wish him well on his future endeavors, but I definitely feel that we have improved our football team.  It is time for us to utilize these big time prospects for more than just recruiting rankings.  I want to see the talent and potential developed into production on the field.



Marshall at practice. (via)
Namaman - I do like what we are hearing about all of our backs progressing, but I still think our issue will be finding that true number one back. Almost every "great" runner really improves the more touches they get. They wear down opposing defenses and can often do more damage later in the game. The running back by committee method does keep them all "fresher," but I still am looking for a more marquee #1 back.

Smoke Wagon -  I should probably refrain from response on this topic………. A couple of months ago, I explained how I thought Isaiah Crowell was going to learn from his mistakes and get things turned around to be the STUD he could be.  Then a couple of days later, he is off the team.  I certainly have respect for what Samuel did in Florida, but that has definitely not been the norm for him in his career. I appreciate all of his team attitude with the position switches, but if he were that good at any of them, I don’t think he would be switching positions so much. I like him, but I am just being honest. I think Ken Malcome will start and I don’t have a problem with that. Malcome can be a solid starting TB in the SEC, but I don’t think he can be a game changer,  All SEC type back.  With that said, I am holding out hopes that Marshall and Gurley are both going to be the type of backs that make you stand-up (or if you are already standing like I usually am, get up on your tip-toes) because you think every carry can turn into a touchdown   -  type of back.  I have always been partial to larger backs, so I am hoping to see a Gurley-Marshall 1-2 punch.  They both seem to have their heads on straight and apparently both have super speed.  If they can stay healthy, we might have an exciting season this year.  I hope we hear a lot of TG for TD this year. 

AthensHomerDawg - We have some running backs that should be older, experienced and less prone to mistakes. Boo and DickSamIV should provide a very honest workman like blue collar performance at running back. Hope Samuel gets used in some two back sets where he can get some speed up. And please throw him the ball. Is it just me or can that guy catch a football? Gurley has wowed his teammates and Marshall is proving he can play in the SEC. A lot. The fullback spot should be sound and strong. Fourth quarters are gonna be fun to watch as we just hammer away at the LB's and run the db's to exhaustion. 

Parting shot - although we're definitely better off with someone like Crowell not on the team, it doesn't leave me any more comfortable about the prospects. What I mean by that is that we still have a lot of question marks. Sounds like Boo will start. Samuel is splitting time. Harton weighs slightly more than my 5th grader and the freshman won;t be fully trusted until they can block a blitzing linebacker. Like Nama said, I'd prefer one back to step up and take the carries. Richt's history doesn't lean that way. So we'll see a lot of Boo-Marshall-Gurley early is my feeling.